A 6-month-old baby boy is dead after police say he was killed and tortured by his father.
Jawhon Sherod Burts, 30, of Indio was arrested last month and is being held in Indio jail without bail on suspicion of murder, torture, willful assault of a child, and domestic abuse.
Hallie Knighton, mother of the child, spoke out for the first time publicly to News Channel 3 reporter Jake Ingrassia after losing her 6-month-old baby boy, Kyrie Victor Burts. "Honestly, I am broken," Knighton said. "Every day is like a blur to me."
It happened Dec. 19 at the Encato apartments on Clinton Street in Indio. Knighton said she had just returned to work after maternity leave when she got the call that Kyrie wasn't breathing well and was being rushed to the hospital.
"I dropped what I was doing at work and instantly just...ran," she said.
Ben Guitron with Indio Police Dept. said emergency responders arrived to the medical call and found injuries police said were suspicious – the baby showing signs of abuse.
"Detectives identified the responsible being his father, Mr. Burts, who was arrested on the 19th, later that day," Guitron said.
Knighton said her 3-year-old daughter was a witness to the crime, and now has to deal with that trauma. And as a mother, there are still unanswered questions about her ex-partner.
"I don't know what inspired him to do it, especially to an innocent baby who can't fight back," she said. "He's going to have to live with the guilt every day."
She said Burts was "a good father," but there were warning signs, including a prior instance of domestic abuse to her.
Now Knighton said she's holds tightly onto the good memories of her precious Kyrie, and is on the pursuit of justice for her son. "Such a happy baby, smiling constantly, just starting to giggle and get his personality out," she said.
"I want justice for my baby because I only had 6 months... I'm so grateful I had 6 months, but I'm so mad I only had 6 months with him."
Burts is accused in court documents of "willfully and unlawfully and with the intent to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose, inflicted great bodily injury" to the infant.
He is being held in custody without bail and is due in court on Jan. 28 for a felony settlement conference.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help family with services and other expenses. Click here to visit the page.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article reported the baby was 7 months old, as indicated in court filings. The child's family has confirmed the baby was 6 months old, so we clarified our reporting based on this.